Sree Narayana Guru's

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  (Monastic Life)


259. A person who has attained inner peace after observing the prescribed duties at the various stages in life, as a celibate in childhood and later as a householder, is eligible to adopt an ascetic life, that is become a monk.


260. A woman who has achieved spiritual disciplines like inner peace, and the discriminative knowledge between the eternal and transient and who is detached from worldly things and desires, is entitled to become an ascetic, as much as a man.


261. If a celibate or a householder desiring to become an ascetic due to his aversion or dispassion towards worldly life, and consequent spiritual awakening, requests a guru to initiate him into the life of a recluse, the guru should do so without waiting for an appropriate time to do so.


262. Without the consent of a guru, an ignorant person should not unilaterally choose the life of an ascetic, due to his impatience.


263. Those without detachment to the material world, aversion to worldly life and without control over their mind, do not merit renunciation. They are like a seed that has lost its power to sprout.


264. An ascetic should not have more affection/attachment towards his own family and friends. Whatever love he has for his fellow beings, the same he displays towards them.


265. A Parivrajaka (a wandering mendicant) with a pure antakarana (the inner faculty consisting of the mind, intellect and ego) should not love (get attached to) just one thing, place, or person. To an ascetic all living beings are his brethren.


266-67. Having first obtained the Guru’s consent, an aspirant of sanyas should tonsure his head and get inner purification and greatness with the performance of Homa (sacrificial offering to Fire God), he should circumambulate the Guru and prostrate fully with the whole body touching the ground. Then he should accept ochre robes (Kashaya vastra) and a Kamandalu (holy vessel or water jar, which symbolizes an ascetic’s simple and self-contained life).


268. A person who has conquered his senses should perform japa (recitation of sacred mantras or chants), meditate, worship the Supreme, observe purity in thought, word and deed, and control his life breath through inner discipline, on the lines advised by the Guru.


269-70. The body of a dead ascetic should not be confined to flames (cremated). A pit of proper dimension should be dug to place the body erect, and covered with soil. Over this pit, saplings of trees like peepul, wood apple (Bilva or bael) or mango should be planted. There is no need for any purification rites when an ascetic departs this world.


271-72. An ascetic with a renounced state of mind can, on hi volition, live in a monastery, temple, public lodging, cave, river bank, seashore, or the house of a celibate. He should avoid other places since they can be detrimental to his spiritual and detached way of living.


273. Under unavoidable and dangerous circumstances, an enlightened ascetic may live in the home of a householder for three days, but not beyond that period.


274. Ascetics who are free from sins should be a member of a cenobite (a convent or religious community who live and serve together.) This will enhance the upliftment of all who have the same principles of spiritual life.


275. The highest spiritual way for an ascetic to attain his release from this world (of births and re-berths) is the acquisition of spiritual wisdom. If he desires to follow the path advised by his Guru, then his greatest aim in life should be to attain Samadhi (total absorption in the object of meditation, which is the Supreme.)


276. A dispassionate ascetic should perform his duties for the benefit of others. Through this he will attain peace of mind and, in due course, spiritual wisdom.


277. The assets of a dead ascetic will go to his Guru. Otherwise, it may go to the monastery or to his disciples. By no means it will belong to any one else.


278. An ascetic should acquire spiritual knowledge by serving his Guru everyday by being near him, learn Vedas (scriptures), and by constantly reflecting on what is learnt to know the Truth.


279. To the extent an ascetic practices sacrifice (unselfish actions); to that level he attains bliss through contentment. Therefore, to earn Supreme Bliss he must make the greatest sacrifices.


280. No living being is afraid of dispassionate (egoless) ascetic. Similarly the ascetic has no fear of any creature.


281. An ascetic should not glorify either life or death. Just as a servant awaits his master’s orders he should wait for his time while leading his life.


282. It is true that an ascetic should lead a life of selfless sacrifice. But he should not completely give up the desire to acquire knowledge, the great virtues like shama and cleanliness.


[The six great virtues (Shatkasampatti), shama (inner control, especially of the mind) dama (control of the organs of sense), uparama (fulfiment of one’s duties or Dharma), titiksha (the patient endurance of all pairs of opposites), shradha (faith in the holy scriptures and the trust in the Guru), and samaadhaana (the faculty of concentration and contemplation alone on the vedic texts and the words of the Guru].


283. An ascetic should not show his ire towards a person who is angry with him. He should not scold a person who upbraids him. He should talk to him full of love.


284. An ascetic should not use his knowledge of priestly functions, astrology, medicine, logic or law, grammar (linguistic skills) and similar expertise, as a means to earn a livelihood, even under difficult circumstances.


285. He should consume food only to keep himself alive. Not more than that. Overeating leads to passions/desires, hatred/aversions, and to diseases.


286. With moderation in food and solitude he should practice meditation in the most appropriate way.


287. After taking bath in the morning and evening, he should perform Pranayama (control of vital breath) followed by chanting of 108 OM (Pranava mantra), without any distraction.


288. An ascetic should sit comfortably with a  composed mind that is not affected by opposites like, attraction or repulsion towards objects, but practice meditation which is his highest duty.


289-90. For a human being the highest level of self-actualization is renunciation. The truth being so, after becoming an ascetic if a person indulges in ignoble acts due to his lack of concentration/discretion, he will become a subject of ridicule/criticism and thus bring his downfall. Therefore, he should never allow any interruption to his duties as an ascetic.


291. If an ascetic is forced to return to the householder life where he is not able to carry out his sacred duties, he does not deserve to be an ascetic any more.


292. All the disciples of a senior Guru should congregate in one place during Chaturmasya. [Chaturmasya is a period starting from one full moon day (Poornima) and ending with the fourth full moon following it.]


293. An ascetic, as the guardian of Dharma, should never vilify another person. Such vilification results in loss of his spiritual power, austerity, and intellectual abilities.


294. An ascetic should disseminate spiritual wisdom and good code of conduct and behaviour to others for the benefit of mankind without lethargy. This is the role of a person who has renounced the worldly life.


295. An ascetic should attain a state of dispassion and provide all help to others without hindrance to his righteous way of life and spiritual commitment to moral discipline.